REBECCA | PRODUCTION
ABOVE Laurie Rose mans the Alexa 65 to capture the burgeoning on-screen romance, while the director, Ben Wheatley, observes his performers closely
wanted was already there. We used very big charcoal silks to lessen the brightness and, at times, just had the light coming in from the very tops of the windows to offer that contrast and create the feeling of an overcast day.” He continues: “Elsewhere, we actually built tents that let us see out of the windows, as makeshift studios. Using these, we could shoot in daylight, night- time and green screen, as we wished.” With the sunlight taken care of, the only things left to light were the film’s numerous night sequences. “The biggest set-up were night exteriors in the cove, where Mrs de Winter visits the boathouse. We were working on the north Devon coast and I was concerned about weather conditions. Sometimes, a textile softbox is almost like putting up a kite, so we ended up using Tommybars for moonlight,” says Rose. “We had 16 8ft bars rigged on a 60-tonne crane at the top of the cliff, with the crane armed out flat and the lights shining down directly on the boathouse. We backed that rig up with a few more Arrimax HMIs, with some backlighting the boathouse slightly and some shining out to illuminate the cove,” he explains.
and, indeed, the house is something of a character itself. To do it justice, production designer, Sarah Greenwood, worked across seven different locations – all stately homes across the UK. When pieced together, the impossible geography serves to disorientate the viewer, much like the lead character herself. Within the house, lighting remained much the same through the narrative beats, though its feel changed dramatically. With the newly-weds alone, it seemed to suggest genuine intimacy. As Mrs de Winter battles the cruel Danvers, it evokes a looming yet hidden danger. “The frequent changing of locations did present some problems,” Rose admits. “We just had to maintain that broad, soft- source light with lots of contrast. Usually, this meant natural light and pushing corrected HMIs in through windows, because we wanted to keep the floor as practical as possible.” That wasn’t the only challenge, though. “Rigging in heritage houses is really tricky, so it was a constant conundrum of trying to work out how much available light we could use,” Rose explains. “The grand hall at Hatfield House is amazing, with almost floor-to-ceiling windows, but because it’s north-facing, it’s so beautifully dark inside. The contrast we
“Overall,” Rose continues, “I’d say it’s certainly the biggest lighting set-up I’ve ever worked with.” It would be amiss to exclude any mention of the film’s striking blue motif that returned in a number of dreamlike moments. As Rose explains, this required some day-for-night trickery. To shoot the interiors, everything was blacked out and Litepanels’ Gemini 2x1 LEDs were used to create a fairly hard, silvery blue moonlight. “I like to use that alongside the warm lights you’d get in the thirties, or even a fire, for some nice colour contrast through the mix of temperatures,” he details. “With all of these things, the reality is you have to move fast and you
We had 16 8ft Tommybars rigged on a crane at the top of the cliff – certainly the biggest set-up I’ve ever worked with
FEBRUARY 202 1 | DEF I N I T ION 1 1
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